life lately //

life lately // late summer {heart-spill}

DenaAugust 28, 2015

life lately //

It’s been awhile since I “checked in” here on the blog. I’m always writing about the house, the garden, the babies — and I don’t often stop to update about me. Sure, all of those things are parts of me, but as a blog reader myself, I often wonder how the blogger herself is doing.

I guess what I’m saying is that if any of ya’ll are as nosy as I am, here’s a little update. 😉

Just like everybody else, I have good days & bad days, or as I frequently say — good hours & bad hours. When I look back at this past year or so, it’s just overwhelming. There has been so much. I honestly feel as though I’ve aged twenty years in two years time.

I never wrote about it, but when Marina was nine-days-old I picked up a stomach bug at the pediatrician’s office. Oh, what a joy that was. It all started in the middle of the night when I had the urge to vomit and couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time. Hello, mess all over the living room, the bassinet, everywhere — all with a sleeping newborn in my arms. The subsequent 72 hours were spent running to the bathroom and lying in bed, drinking every conceivable liquid known to mankind. All the time I was also scrubbing my hands until they were sandpaper dry and nursing Marina constantly in the hopes that my breast milk supply would not diminish due to dehydration.

I’m sharing this experience now as a reminder to myself that life just keeps throwing punches. Just because you’re already dealing with a high-needs newborn (or whatever you’re dealing with at any given moment) doesn’t mean that life is going to slow down for you. It just keeps going and you’ve got to roll with it because… well, because there’s nothing else that you can do.

Matthew is still home with us on disability as a result of his accident last October. He’s made progress in the ten months since his injury. By the grace of God he can walk and he can hold our children. But what we’ve come to accept is that there are some things that are never going to be the same again. He has learned to live with a new normal and we’ve spent these past months adjusting to what that means for our family.

Having him home has been a blessing and a curse. Having that extra set of hands around during those first few months when Marina never stopped crying was invaluable. He forged a closer relationship with Roman than we ever could have hoped for. He was here for me during those darkest of hours when I really didn’t know how I could go on.

On the other hand, all four of us cooped in this house together, every damned day, is enough to make me want to scream. Not surprisingly, some days, I do scream. It’s good, it’s bad, and it’s ugly. That’s life, I guess. I get out and away as often as I can to keep us all sane. I wake up at the crack of dawn and get the babies ready for the day and head out the door as quickly as my legs can carry us. We go for long, daily walks and inside of those few hours each day I find my sanity.

I’ve also started going to church again. It’s a song and a dance to get myself there, but I manage it. I spend that hour or so every Sunday morning worshiping the Lord, giving thanks for his grace. It’s soul-food that sinks deep inside of me and nourishes the very roots of my being.

I had a mother’s helper come in for two hours this week for the first time ever. Matthew took Roman out fishing and my helper walked around the yard with Marina so that I could get some things done. Good golly, what a treat that was. When she left, my head felt more clear and the burden on my shoulders felt lighter than it has in a long time, as long as I can remember. It’s amazing what a couple of uninterrupted hours can do for your head space.

I’ve never felt more unattractive than I have lately. The reality is that I just don’t take good care of my appearance. I’m not proud of it. I’m not going to throw out a bunch of excuses either. We have time for the things that we make time for. I know this. When it comes down to it, I spend my time soothing my babies, making crafts with Roman, taking walks, taking photographs, editing photographs & blogging, perusing social media, eating, and sleeping (sometimes).

I take a shower every few days and my hair gets brushed when it gets brushed. M. does the lion’s share of the cooking these days and I do the lion’s share of the eating. I’m holding onto a good twenty extra pounds and it sucks. But I’m exclusively breastfeeding Marina and I’ve got an appetite that just won’t quit. That’s just the way it is right now. My days are full of selflessness and love.

I’ve started exercising (in the form of those long, glorious walks) and it’s making me feel better, physically. Very soon Marina will be starting solids and then her appetite for my milk will slow a little bit. Hopefully my appetite will, in turn, slow a little bit too. I don’t have any hate for my body even in its current state. I am so damned proud of the two miracles that I created, I will never hate my body again. I have a new relationship with beauty now that I have a daughter. I will always be careful, not just about what I say, but also about what I feel. I want Marina Grace to spend every moment of her life witnessing a mother that is wrapped up in self-love and not self-loathing.

There is a poem by Mary Oliver titled, “The Summer Day.” It is a favorite of mine. In it, she writes:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Those lines, that question, have reverberated through my mind for years. For years now they have chased me. I could always feel them breathing at the nape of my neck. They were right behind me, watching me, following me, asking me.

That question haunted me because I couldn’t answer it. For years I wondered, What will I do? What will I do with my one wild & precious life?

And then, the other day while I was walking, something stopped me dead in my tracks. There was this moment of stillness and clarity. All the world fell away from around me. Suddenly that question was standing in front of me, and for the first time, so was the answer. The voice in my head saw the question and answered: my babies. My Roman James & my Marina Grace. They are what I have done, what I will do, with my one wild & precious life.

I’ll never be able to quite explain what motherhood has done for me. But what I can say is that it is the answer to the questions that I’ve been asking all my life. It is right. It is the first time in my life where there are no questions, there is no doubt about whether I made the right decisions. Every single step that I took toward bringing my babies into the world was the right step. I was always coming to them and they were always coming to this world. They are my greatest achievement and the one that matters most. They are destined for beautiful things, those sweet little ones of mine.

I don’t know where I’m going with this post. I really just wanted to let my heart spill out a little bit. I’ve accomplished that, so I’ll leave this post off right here.

I thank you for being here, as ever. I hope that things are going wonderfully for you, dear reader. I’d love to know what’s been up with you lately. Spill a little bit of your own heart into the comments?


Comments (4)

  • Momista Beginnings

    August 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Yes! We’re ALL nosy!!! 😉 This was a beautiful little update. Man, what a crazy last year or two your family has had. And you still manage to hang on to whatever positive light shines through it all (there’s always one, right? We just have to look for it). You guys so deserve some smooth sailing, though. Okay, now to chime in on a few things: I’d go bat shit crazy if my husband were home with us EVERY DAY. I’m having a hard time as it is having him here from 5ish pm until 8am on weekdays and all day weekends!! In regards to that part of life right now, marriage, it’s a hot mess. I’ve got SO MUCH I’d like to unleash about on my blog about it, but am still trying to figure out how to do so without throwing anyone under the bus or airing dirty laundry, ya know? I really want to be honest but it’s hard to do so publicly, especially since friends and family read it. I know I’ll get around to it, but I just don’t think I’m ready. I’m in such a crazy funk right now, confused, frustrated, always feeling like I’m a volcano ready to erupt (and have already a few times). UGH!! So there’s that 🙂 Maybe I need to get out more…like you’ve been doing. It’s just so damn hot and I hate hot! It’s 100 degrees right now, actually. And I also second your feelings on attractiveness. I’ve never felt more unattractive, even more so than the time I weighed my heaviest (which was only about 10 lbs more than now) which was about 10 years ago. It’s a combo of weight, my looser/stretched belly, my frizzier and flatter hair, the permanent bags under my eyes, the newer wrinkles, my deflated boobs, the fact that nearly my entire wardrobe doesn’t fit me and the fact that my husband doesn’t see me. But…Mia still tells me daily how beautiful I am, how pretty I am, how wonderful I am and how loved I am. I wish I could see the world through her eyes, sometimes. I also wish I could express myself and articulate my thoughts/feelings as smoothly and beautifully as you do. This was a really great read and I so appreciate and admire your tidbits of honesty. Thanks for sharing 🙂 xoxo -Misty

  • Tina

    August 29, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Dena…I’ve got a 3 month old daughter who was very unsettled (“colicky”?) for the first two months. She has definitely calmed a lot over ther last month, but her sleep is all over the place! She cat naps during the day (waking up after 40 minutes) and ends up grizzly and demanding a lot of the time. She also doesn’t settle until late at night, no matter what I do! But anyway, I thought I’d let you know that reading your posts about Marina have made me feel not so alone in this challenging time. Thank you for your honesty and positivity. I’m a Christian from South Australia by the way. I just think it’s amazing how God can use someone from the other side of the world to bring much needed encouragement. I hope you are all doing well, hanging in there as best as you can. I hope that things continue to improve for you and your family. Also, I totally related to the realisation you had about your children being your purpose in life. I too have come to believe that God is calling me to sow my life into my daughter…if that makes sense?! Motherhood has always been a high and influential calling, but I think the raising of this next generation is especially spiritually significant, considering the world they will be living in.

    1. Dena

      August 31, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you so much, Tina. My goodness, you have no idea how wonderful it is for me every time I learn that I have a new reader and especially one that I have so much in common with like yourself!! Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you blog? I’d so much love to get to know you better. <3 <3 <3


      1. Tina

        August 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm

        Hi Dena…I came across your blog a while ago when I googled something like “simple living blog”. I had discovered that watching you tube videos on the same theme (minimalism/simplicity etc) inspired me and made me feel calm! Before having baby Tia Hosanna I was a Youth Worker, and it was in that job that I realised I’m prone to anxiety. Simplifying my home and life helps me to be my best…although I’m a long way from where I want to be! You and I do seem to have a lot in common; I too am a bit of a solitary person who loves books and summer time! I think we’re close in age too (i’m 30). I studied writing years ago and have thought about blogging and planned to start but haven’t done it. Unfortunately I am a bit of a freak when it comes to social media…I’m not on any of it. My husband does have fb though so I’m not completely out of touch!

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